Djokovic sets up Del Potro rematch
Originally published on: 03/07/13 00:00
The world No.1 survived a wobble early in the second set to power to a 7-6(5) 6-4 6-3 victory in two hours and 15 minutes on No.1 Court.
Djokovic will face Juan Martin Del Potro in a rematch of last year’s bronze medal match at the London 2012 Olympics after the Argentine survived an injury scare to defeat David Ferrer 6-2 6-4 7-6(5).
Berdych pushed Djokovic hard in the opening stages as the Serb snatched the first set on a tiebreak, only to see his opponent grab a double break to streak to a 3-0 lead.
However, the No.7 seed was left to rue some sloppy serving as he allowed Djokovic back into the set, and the top seed took full advantage to edge closer to the semi-finals.
Berdych had won their only previous encounter at the All England Club when he defeated Roger Federer and Djokovic en route to the final in 2010, but he failed to make the most of his opportunities as Djokovic moved into his 13th conscutive Grand Slam semi-final.
“I can play well better than I played today,” Berdych admitted. “If you give him too much then it's a lot. So you have to play really on the limit, playing really great to have a chance to beat him. That was not my case today.”
Djokovic boasts an 8-3 record against Del Potro, but the 24-year-old won their only previous match on grass, when he beat the Serb 7-5 6-4 to deny Djokovic an Olympic bronze medal last summer. It will be the first Wimbledon semi-final in the Open era between two players yet to drop a set in the Championships.
“Delpo is a great player,” Djokovic said of his semi-final opponent. “I have a great respect for him – he's a Grand Slam winner. He has struggled with injuries in last few years, but every time he comes back he comes back very strong because he just has this talent and qualities as a player.
“He's very tall so he uses that serve as a powerful weapon. And of course his forehand, that is his signature shot. It's semifinals, so everything is open and we both want to win.”
Del Potro, who had never made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon in five previous attempts, took a nasty fall in the opening game as he injured his already bandaged left knee.
Despite looking like his tournament might be over, Del Potro opted to continue after receiving treatment and despite moving cautiously to begin with, his vicious ground shots from the baseline were enough to overpower Ferrer.
A weary-looking Ferrer, who later revealed he would be taking a four-week break from the tour, had no answers and a blistering forehand wrapped up victory on Centre Court.
"I think I was close to retiring," Del Potro admitted. "But to be honest, I don't want to retire in quarters for first time at Wimbledon against David Ferrer. And that's the reason for continuing [to] play. The doctors give me good antiinflammatories.
"I survived my serve in the beginning of the match [then] I broke his serve early and that gave me confidence to take advantage in the beginning of the match. Then I played confidence, [was] careful all the time with my movement. But in the end I did 100% and I'm so glad to go through."